Friday, September 9, 2011

Beach Bums! The mission to visit them all!

Beach Bums! Carl and I made it our goal while on the Island to see as many beaches as possible!

This beach was not very popular among the tourists, which was incredibly hard to understand why. We went to this beach several days, including one night to camp on the beach. Our second sunset was watched here, and for me the most memorable one. As we stood there facing west watching the sun slide underneath the protection of the sparkling ocean I could hear Carl's heart beat. It was in that moment that I soaked in all the beauty around me and surrounded myself in love. My favorite photo of the entire trip was taken at this beach.

Falling in <3

Samyang Black Sand Beach
When driving to this beach we had full expectations that the sand was going to be BLACK. Well... it wasn't. I was black-ish, but not nearly as dark as we had expected. After leaving and doing some post Jeju research, I found out that the locals believe the black sand is beneficial to your health, and that many of them bury themselves under the black sand. Whoopsies! Here is the only picture I took that shows the "Black Sand"

Jeju 2011

Hamdeok Seoubon

 This is the beach that we kept on coming back to. This is where we got red as lobsters, swam in the ocean, and paid entirely too much for an umbrella. As soon as I saw the umbrellas and tables I started to pull one up to put our stuff under. A man quickly ran over to me and said, "Man won." ($10) Shit. It was too late for me to back out now! I handed the man $10 and realized as I did a quick count of the umbrellas that he had made more money that day than I make just by sitting his ass on the beach with a beer and watching the stupid tourists pour in. I had never in my life seen green water or water so clear. You could walk out on the lava rocks into the middle of the ocean and watch as people paddled the over priced kayak rentals (thankfully I didn't see the appeal, there were no rapids after all!) We alternated between swimming and reading, swimming and reading, until we finally decided we had gotten enough sun for the day and wanted to see more of the island!

Jungmun Saekdal
We saw this beach, but we didn't spend much time here. It was located in the middle of Jungmun Resort which was were all of the "gotcha" museums were (aka Teddy Bear Museum, Pacific Land (dolphin show!) and Ripley's Believe it or Not)


Carl made it a goal of his own to travel all the way around the island. I of course could not stand the infamous "Scooter Ass" for that long, so we waited to go to this beach until we had the car. The water was so low that you could see Korean couples walking out into the middle holding hands. The water was clear and warm, and as I stared down at my electric blue painted toenails, I would see little sand crabs and fish swim across my feet. Along the beach were statues, that we didn't realize until several hours later when we watched a Korean man climb on top of a Ram as being the symbols of the Chinese Zodiac.

Hyeopjae/Geumneung Beach
Our first day (after 2 1/2 hours on a bus, 4 hours on a ferry, and an hour long taxi ride) we arrived to our accommodation. We went out walking not long after that and discovered this little gem of a beach. Actually, two! One beach was very low key, yet covered with the ever so present basalt rock. (This is what shocked me was that I actually LEARNED something in my two semesters of Geology!)

I can't really tell which beach was which, but on the more reserved beach, you could walk around the camping area and find yourself surrounded by the basalt and little pools. On one of those corners we had our first encounter with the "Bangsatap". These are made of little stones piled up high that are believed to protect the village from bad luck. The Bangsatap's location is very important and not randomly chosen.

The other beach was definitely the family destination beach, and was certainly the most populated beach we saw while on the island, and their umbrellas were FREE! This is where we got to see more of what Korean beach culture is like. Intertubs stuffed with girlfriends while the boyfriends swam them around was a common sight throughout the week. I even tried to get Carl to carry my purse like a Korean, but alas, he's a true waygook. While Koreans are all very thin and small, then prefer to keep themselves covered either out of protection from the sun or modesty. Therefore, it was to my delight that almost all of the women were covered up since I was definitely not going to be donning a bathing suit around them. I can't say the same for the men though. I saw way too many men in short shorts or speedos than I would have liked. I don't know if I could have handled as a child seeing my father in a speedo without psychological damage, but to Koreans, its the way to go! Anyways, as we sat on the beach under a free umbrella reading, we watched what may have been the most intense session of gawi-bawi-bo (rock, paper, scissors) by men the same age as us. Assumingly, the 2nd and 3rd round losers had to dig a ditch. The last round loser had to lay in the dig and get covered with sand. Of course after he was fully submerged his friends flicked his forehead and threatened to throw beach balls at his head. Carl smoothly walked around them taking pictures like a paparazzi.

Hwasun- Under construction
Shinyang- another disapointment

In our quest to visit all the beaches in Jeju, these last two proved to be a dissapointment. Hwasun was under construction and Shinyang was very dirty. There were two beaches that we didn't make it to, but that just means we're going to have to come back to Jeju to see them!

Mid week we were starting to understand how little our skin had seen the sun this past summer as every time I'd go to give Carl a hug or even touch him he would wince. While we lathered up with sunscreen, the damage had been done. Korean's know how to make their money too! When we finally found aloe it cost us $10 for a tiny tube. Would have been better off just grabbing some from the Botanical Garden! But more on that later!

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